IKEA’s making the world a little sunnier. This past week IKEA completed solar photovoltaic (PV) installations at stores in Florida, Michigan, Texas and Virginia. Two of the installations are the largest rooftop installations in the state.
Both the Woodbridge, Va., and Canton, Mich., rooftop installations are the largest solar in their respective states. The Woodbridge installation is 504 kilowatts and the Canton installation is 977.6 kilowatts. It also powered up a 1.2 megawatt array in Tampa, Fla., and an 813 kilowatt array in Houston. “I think this took us to 22 installations with [more] in the works,” said IKEA spokesperson Joseph Roth.
In the past IKEA’s solar installations came online one at a time. But there was no concerted effort to bring 4 different systems in four different states online in the same week, Roth said. “It just kind of happened. A lot of these projects happened to begin around the same time. The 10 in the southeast all started around November or December, last year.…The midwestern ones were all a month behind,” he said.
“Some are not moving quite as quickly, but the others pretty much all went at the same pace.”
The company is working with four different installers throughout the country. The projects completed this week were installed by three of them. “That’s also a reason not to give energy project to just one installer,” Roth said.
With the completion of the four stores this week, 50 percent of IKEA’s locations in the US now have solar installed. Once the project is completed 89 percent of all its locations in the US will have solar, according to Roth. It’s a big jump from this time last year. “A year ago we probably had four or six projects completed. It just shows how much more straight forward the technology and process is than it used to be.…It’s easier and more straight forward than what we thought it would be, which is why became feasible to do,” Roth said. Given the pace of installations, Roth expected one or two new systems to be completed on near weekly basis.
When completed IKEA will have solar on 34 or its 39 locations, including distribution centers, in the U.S. The stores that aren’t slated for solar have unique conditions that make solar more difficult. Still, Roth said, “We’ll continue evaluating. We’re always evaluating new opportunities for stores. And all new stores we’re planning, as part of our global initiative, all must evaluated for geothermal and solar potential,” Roth said.